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Why The Victorians Were So Spookily Good At Ghost Stories

Published on June 4, 2017 by Vesta

The popularity of ghost stories was strongly related to economic changes. The industrial revolution had led people to migrate from rural villages into towns and cities, and created a new middle class. They moved into houses that often had servants, says Roger Clarke, author of A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof. , many taken on around October or November, when the nights were drawing in early – and new staff found themselves “in a completely foreign house, seeing things everywhere, jumping at every creak”. Robbins says servants were “expected to be seen and not heard – actually, probably not even seen, to be honest. If you go to a stately home like Harewood House, you see the concealed doorways and servant’s corridors. You would actually have people popping in and out without you really knowing they were there, which could be quite a freaky experience. You’ve got these ghostly figures who actually inhabit the house.”

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